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Flood Hazard Management

fluvial erosion of a road in Vermont

INFORMATION for flood damaged communities- Development Review and Permits after Flood Damage - For Municipal Administrative Officers

Vermont Floodplain Management at Blogspot  for occasional updates or breaking news:

Community Status Book Report - list of communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

Floodplain Managers by region NEW - updated for 2015

Flood hazard management in Vermont is a collaborative effort that includes federal, state and town governments, regional planning commissions (RPC’s), non-profit watershed organizations, and individual landowners. The Rivers Program provides technical support and coordination for the implementation of flood hazard management programs throughout the State. 

button link to Flood Ready website

Flood Hazard Maps

Maps of the flood hazard areas in your community can be viewed at your municipal office. The maps are also available in paper and pdf format through the FEMA Map Service Center and can be viewed and printed from  or ordered from (877) 336-2627. 

Support for using the maps is available from FEMA’s Map Information Exchange at (877) 336-2627 or

In counties with Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRM) or Preliminary DFIRMs the extent of the Special Flood Hazard Areas can be viewed online at the Vermont Natural Resource Atlas

An update to the flood hazard mapping in Bennington County is now in process. The Preliminary Bennington County DFIRM data is posted at or  

An Expanded Appeal Period for the Bennington County Preliminary DFIRM data will run for ninety days through February 10, 2015.  Here is information from FEMA regarding this Appeal Period 

Understanding the Changes to Your Community’s Flood Insurance Rate Map

Expanded Appeals Process fact sheet



Scoping Report

Preliminary DFIRMs

Final Community Meeting

Effective Date


December 2006

July 2004

February 2006

September 28, 2007


December 2006

July 2004

February 2006

September 28, 2007


April 2005

May 2007

July 2007

August 28, 2008


June 2004

June 15, 2009

July 27, 2009

March 19, 2013


March 2006

June 30, 2009

July 28, 2009

July 18, 2011


November 2006

December 15, 2011

(and Fall 2013)

February 9, 2011


November 2015


At this time, the following counties are not currently scheduled for map updates: Addison, Caledonia, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, and Orleans. VT DEC continues to encourage FEMA to get the maps in the remaining eight counties updated. Beginning in October 2009, FEMA began to transition to “RiskMAP” (Risk Mapping Assessment and Planning). Under RiskMAP priorities for mapping will be identified through the Coordinated Needs Management Strategy. Mapping efforts will be directed on the basis of HUC-8 watersheds. In Vermont, work under RiskMAP has not been scheduled. The Congressional allocation for flood hazard map updates has been cut in half for the federal year beginning 2012. Communities with known flood hazard map concerns should contact DEC.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps by County
Years Since Effective Date (2013)

FIRM table

Communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) need to review and update their bylaws to adopt the new maps and confirm that the regulations meet or exceed the requirements for the program. Model bylaws are available below in pdf format. Bylaw updates need to be completed well before the effective date of the Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map. 

For more information on the flood hazard map update process in Vermont, or for help with data, community bylaws, or insurance grandfathering opportunities, please contact Ned Swanberg at 802.490-6160 or


Regulating Development in Vermont Floodplains

cars washed away in a Vermont flood

When there is too much water flooding is a natural outcome, and yet, flooding does not need to be a disaster. Vermont statute encourages municipalities, regions and state agencies to work together to protect floodplains and river corridors so as to protect public safety and reduce damage to roads, buildings, water quality and habitat.

Currently, inundation and erosion caused by flooding cause the largest annual disaster costs in Vermont. Additionally, in some communities, roads, bridges and critical facilities, including emergency response centers, are located in or near the flood hazard area. The risk of damage to structures in the flood hazard area may increase as more development occurs in the watershed, and as an increasingly warm moist climate affects Vermont. For more information please visit

The River Corridor and Floodplain Program helps to reduce flood risk by providing technical assistance to communities regulating floodplain development. Our office can provide general assistance and education about flood hazards and floodplain regulations, including the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and those for river corridors and erosion hazards. Two of the primary ways we help communities regulate floodplain development are by reviewing municipal floodplain development proposals and by assisting communities in developing hazard area regulations.

Flood Hazard Area Regulations

To enable residents to acquire flood insurance, your community must participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and regulate development in the Special Flood Hazard Area. The regulations must meet or exceed the requirements of the NFIP. Vermont DEC has prepared model flood hazard regulations as posted below. These models meet or exceed the requirements of the NFIP as provided for under Vermont law in Title 24 VSA Chapter 117. When your community is updating your flood hazard regulations your Planning Commission should start with a current model and then work with your Regional Planning Commission or other consultants as appropriate. When your PC has prepared a draft, please send it to your Vermont ANR Floodplain Regional Manager for review. Comments will be returned within 30 days.

Many Vermont communities have structures built in the flood hazard area. To address this situation the community has a Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) that informs the Municipal Plan, as well as local land use regulations to implement that plan. The LHMP provides access to funding to help improve culverts, relocate or elevate buildings and take steps to reduce exposure to known hazards.

The FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) identify areas vulnerable to inundation during the base flood (the one percent annual chance flood). A structure in the flood hazard area has more than a one in four chance of getting flooded during a 30-year mortgage. The FIRM does not identify flooding risk due to dam breaks, most ice-jam flooding situations, nor areas (and public infrastructure) vulnerable to erosion caused by flooding. VT DEC is developing maps of river corridors statewide and these maps will be available late in 2014. Vermont statute recommends that Vermont cojmmunities avoid placing new encroachments in these zones and not allow development that will increase inundation or erosion hazards.

The table below briefly describes four models and includes links to pdf versions of the texts. 

  • Model 2 is appropriate for a municipality that does not have zoning and does not have access to river corridor maps. Model 2 includes administrative text and can be adopted under Chapter 117 §4411 and/or §4424.
  • Models 3 and 4 are appropriate for municipalities that have zoning and river corridor maps. Model 3 assumes that the municipality has little current exposure to flood hazards, adequate flood emergency response capacity, and permits new structures outside of the Fluvial Erosion Hazard Zone where such structures are elevated and accessible by dry land.
  • Model 4 clearly prohibits new structures in the Special Flood Hazard Area and the river corridor, and is less complex to administer.
  • Model 5 is for communities with zoning that do not have access to river corridor maps.
  • Model 6 is for communities without zoning but that do have access to river corridor maps. Model 6 includes administrative text and can be adopted under Chapter 117 §4424.


Links to Models





Erosion Hazards?


Benefits / Cost

for Town



Inundation Model 2

Yes Stand Alone No High Yes

Flood Model 3

Yes Zoning Attachment Yes Moderate Highly

Flood Model 4

Yes Zoning Attachment Yes High Highly


Inundation Model 5

Yes Zoning Attachment No High Yes
Flood Model 6 Yes Stand Alone Yes High Yes

For Word .doc versions of the models please contact


  • Community Rating System (CRS) – Communities with a large number of structures already in the flood hazard zone may benefit from participation in the FEMA CRS program.  The CRS program provides a discount on premiums to flood insurance policy holders in towns that choose to participate.  Model Regulations 3 and 4 provide substantial rating points.  Additional points to quality are available for public outreach efforts, storm water maintenance, and other actions.  Currently Brattleboro, Bennington, and Montpelier participate in the CRS program.  For more information, contact VT DEC.

Development Reviews

The NFIP defines development as the placement of fill, construction, dredging, drilling, grading, excavating, mining, and the storage of materials. NFIP regulations (44 CFR §60.3) require that a municipal permit be obtained for any development in a FEMA mapped floodplain. Vermont law (24 VSA §4424) requires that all municipal permit applications for floodplain development be sent to the Rivers Program for a review and comment. The NFIP regulations can be complex, and this statute allows the Program to ensure that floodplain development is compliant with the NFIP and FEH regulations in the community's ordinance. Our office can work with zoning officials and developers to suggest development alternatives to mitigate flood risk. Permit applications for floodplain development can be sent to the email or address below. Please call the office if you have any questions about this procedure.

  • Floodplain Permitting Flow Chart (under construction) - A detailed chart explaining different circumstances involved in floodplain development and the information needed from the applicant to ensure a timely development review.

  • Development Review Submission Checklist (pdf, 101kb) - A full list of the materials necessary for the Rivers Program to review municipal permit applications.

Additional Resources

We have compiled several resources, documents and organizations that can help provide further information on floodplain management:


  • FEMA floodway regulations and technical guidance:
    • No Rise Certification (pdf, 28kb) - Guidance and sample form for use by engineers to provide certification that engineering analyses show no rise in community flood waters as a result of floodway development.
    • Numerical Models - Link to information on acceptable models used by FEMA in floodway analyses.


Additional Information




If you have general questions regarding mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements or obtaining Letters of Map Change from FEMA please visit the FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX), or contact a FEMA Map Specialist at:  or 1-877-FEMA-MAP (1-877-336-2627).

For general flood insurance information 1-800-427-4661

Municipal permit applications for flood hazard area development can be sent to the Floodplain Manager for your region NEW - updated for 2015

Northern Region:                                              Central Region:                                                 Southern Region:

Rebecca Pfeiffer, CFM                                     Sacha Pealer                                                     John Broker-Campbell, CFM
111 West Street                                                1 National Life Drive, Main 2                           450 Asa Bloomer State Office Building
Essex Junction, VT 05452                              Montpelier, VT 05620-3522                             88 Merchants Row
                                                                                                                                                            Rutland, VT 05701-5903                                          

Rob Evans, CFM, Vermont River Corridor and Floodplain Manager
Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation, Watershed Management Division
1 National Life Drive, Main 2, Montpelier, VT  05620-3522 

River Scientists

To learn more about the Fluvial Erosion Hazard Program, please contact FEH Coordinators:

Staci Pomeroy (Northern Region):   

Gretchen Alexander (Central region):

Shannon Pytlik (Southern Region):  


Municipal Guide to Fluvial Erosion Hazard Mitigation  (pdf, 867 KB)



river corridor image

VT DEC Watershed Management Division 1 National Life Drive, Main 2  Montpelier, VT  05620-3522  Tele: 802-828-1535   Fax: 802-828-1544


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